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Forests

Forests are the climate umbrella for our planet.

© WWF / Servi Nabuus
Why do forests matter?

Forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services including climate stabilization, carbon storage, and the prevention of erosion, landslides, avalanches and flash floods. The conservation of forest ecosystems and the promotion of sustainable forest management is key for human-wellbeing especially at a local level. Forest conservation awareness has increased globally, but forests in the Caucasus still face threats caused by illegal logging, livestock grazing, conversion of forest lands to agriculture lands, poaching and unsustainable hunting.

Colchic Forests and Wetlands

The Colchic rainforests and wetlands occupy one of few global glacial refugia, where woody plants and other forest-dependent flora and fauna migrated to and survived throughout the Pleistocene cooling cycles. This explains the overall richness and extremely high proportion of endemic and relict species in the Colchic rainforests and wetlands. 

This unique landscape represents a rare mire region in Eurasia, distinguished by the vegetation and species composition. The percolation bogs of the Colchic mires are of especially high importance because they occur nowhere else in the world. Georgia’s Colchic rainforest are rich in biodiversity, and are home to 1,100 species of plants and up to 500 species of vertebrates, including many threatened species. In 2021, the Colchic rainforests and wetlands of Georgia were added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, becoming not only the first World Heritage Site in Georgia but also in the entire South Caucasus region.
 


 



 

 

The Caucasus is recognized as one of the 35 Priority Places by WWF, and forests are one of the priority biomes for WWF-Caucasus activities.
© WWF / Akaki Chalatashvili
What is WWF doing?

WWF-Caucasus has restored more than 1,500 hectares of forest landscape in the South Caucasus. We work with local communities on forest protection, and work closely with rangers who are the main forest caretakers. We also work with the media and general public to increase awareness and improve general knowledge on environmental challenges including on the importance of forest preservation.


 

About 7,000 species of vascular plants occur in the Caucasus Ecoregion and at least 25% are found nowhere else in the world. This is the highest level of plant endemism in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere.

© WWF / Akaki Chalatashvili

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